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      This article appeared in the Lancaster Guardian on 12 September 2019:

Dedicated bunch of volunteers have a whole lot to be proud of

A group of conservation volunteers who have been beavering away tirelessly for 30 years are taking stock of their many notable achievements.

For the past 35 years, Lancaster & District Conservation Volunteers (LDCV) have been working every other Sunday to manage and improve a whole range of sites within the Lancaster district's urban fringe and urban greenspace.

First established in 1984 and still part of the Community Network of the Trust for Conservation Volunteers (TCV), the group has a whole host of achievements to proudly claim its own.

These include:

 

  • Planting 20,000 trees including hedgerow plants, which equates to absorbing some 1,200 tonnes of CO2 from the environment - a clear contribution towards impacting on climate change.

  • Undertaking around 3,500 metres of hedgerow management including hedge laying, coppicing and replanting with much of this work undertaken on a single farm in Slyne;

  • Rebuilding and repairing some 700 metres of drystone wall, much of it within the Arnside/Silverdale AONB;

  • Helping transform the grounds of 12 local schools from little more than areas of closely mown grass into much richer, three-dimensional habitats and local neighbourhood landscapes;

  • Designing, creating and managing eight ponds, many of them in schools; 

  • In more recent years in keeping with refreshed thinking, successfully establishing several wildflower meadows ranging in size between three square metres to around two acres, thus enhancing habitats for bees, butterflies, other insects and birds;

  • For several years managing, in co-ordination with the Northern Fruit Group, the former Whittingham Hospital site’s large orchard of more than 200 trees, which developed pruning and replanting skills;

  • Since 2013, the group has been Northern Station Adopters at Bare Lane, with a focus on managing the station greenspace and heritage, including beds, planters, the platform ends and other green spaces with considerable emphasis on community involvement. Children from Great Wood School in Morecambe have grown vegetable seeds and planted them in a dedicated planter encouraging rail travellers to pick the produce. Apple and plum trees have also been planted in the car park again encouraging travellers to help themselves to some of the fruit when ready. Legalised scrumping!

  • Thanks to the sterling efforts of the group's secretary, Sylvia Cooper, and the expertise of Alison Loveland, the website has been transformed and can be viewed at www.ldcv.net.

Always looking for new members

Volunteer recruitment is a constant challenge for LDCV. The  group is always looking for new volunteers willing to assist with its work programme and develop their own skills in local conservation management. Why not take a look at the website, www.ldcv.net, and if you are interested give them a call to arrange to join them on a Sunday task?

   The next Thursday a follow up letter appeared under the heading Tireless leaders:

"Further to the article entitled Dedicated bunch of volunteers have a whole lot to be proud of,  in the Lancaster Guardian on 12 September 2019, we would like to point out that all this work by the Lancaster & District Conservation Volunteers over 35 years has come about because of the great enthusiasm, expertise, patience and dedication of our group leaders, Liz and David Alexander. 

 

They have worked tirelessly not only on the tasks but in preparation, including liaising with clients, on funding, cleaning and maintaining the tools and vehicle and organising tea break refreshments. 

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to spend healthy time outdoors learning new skills, helping to make the local environment better, especially as it is now necessary to be aware of possible effects of changes in climate, and meeting new people who can also improve their well-being at the same time.  And we like chocolate Hobnobs best!

"Sylvia Cooper, Pete Ashworth and Jenny Boland, Long-standing members of LDCV"